Food Insecurity Among Formerly Homeless Individuals Living in Permanent Supportive Housing [2019]

Objectives. To assess the role of health-related factors, health care, nutrition, and socioeconomic factors in food insecurity prevalence in a sample of previously homeless adults living in permanent supportive housing.

Methods. In 2016 to 2017, we recruited and completed survey interviews with permanent supportive housing residents aged 45 years and older in Los Angeles, California (n = 237). We conducted univariable and multivariable analyses to determine the odds and covariates of low or very low food security, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s definition and measure.

Results. Two thirds of residents (67%) reported low or very low food security. In the multivariable analyses, several variables were positively associated with this outcome, including accessing food aid or being late in paying bills. The odds of low or very low food security decreased by 8% for every $100 increase in monthly income.

Conclusions. The prevalence of food insecurity in our sample exceeded rates among similarly aged low-income adults in the general population and adults who are currently homeless. This suggests that food insecurity, along with other indicators of socioeconomic disadvantage, remains a threat to health equity for formerly homeless individuals even after they transition to stable housing.

Elizabeth A. Bowen PhD, John Lahey MSW, Harmony Rhoades PhD, and Benjamin F. Henwood PhD, MSW
American Journal of Public Health, February 21, 2019
DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2018.304927